One way to think about today’s ‘crisis of the West’ is to look at the economic growth rates in economically and politically ‘free’ versus ‘unfree’ nations. If you believe that economic and political freedom are linked (as I do), you would assume that free countries grow faster. For much of the post-war era that has indeed been true. But no longer.
Back in 1980, countries defined as more economically free (using Fraser Institute data) grew on average by 3.8% – that’s much faster than the 2.1% scored in nations with a below average ‘economic freedom’ score. By 2014, a different story emerges. Nations with a below average economic freedom score are growing at 3.97% – as opposed to the 3.1% scored in nations that are more free.
When we look at ‘political freedom’, the story is even worse; nations with below average ‘political freedom’ (as measured by Washington-based Cato Institute) grew at over 4% in 2014 which is the latest year the scores are available; that’s much faster than the 2.8% scored amongst the politically free. This should trouble us.
Economic and Political Freedom Growth Rates